A rather strange story is developing out of Ohio. A White lesbian couple has decided to make a legal filing after experiencing difficulty raising a biracial child which they had from donated sperm. The couple went to the Downers Grove-based Midwest Sperm Bank in 2011 seeking sperm for an artificial insemination. While the pregnancy took hold, it was discovered that the woman was given the wrong sperm. The incorrect sperm came from an African-American man when they had requested a White man. In 2012 the couple was made away of the mistake (which was apparently caused by faulty hand written labeling) but they only now have decided to file suit. The claim which be found here is for ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘breach of warranty’. They claim to have suffered emotional and economic losses.
The sperm bank acknowledged the error and refunded the money of the couple. The couple was aware of the biracial status of the baby, yet only now they have a problem with it. They claim they are ill equipped to raise a child who is mixed race. They cite difficulties with their neighbourhood, getting the child’s haircut, and ‘limited cultural competency relative to African Americans’ and is undergoing a ‘steep learning curve.’ This probably means they don’t know how to raise the baby as African-American.
They say they love the baby but the mother claims she ‘lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and [the baby] Payton’s future.’ She doesn’t appear to have been too specific about what those uncertainties are.
I don’t believe for a second that this lawsuit is really about a mix up of sperm. The women have known since 2012 that the wrong sperm was used. If it wasn’t an issue for them back then, I don’t see what has changed in this regard now. She was aware of the mix up since before the child was born. If this was about the mix up they would have done it right from the beginning and not wait two years. I think what has happened is some lawyer or relative has gotten into the woman’s ear and convinced them to take it to court because they could score a lot of money.
In this case I definitely believe that the parents are racist. They cannot claim that this is not about race when race is entirely what their complaint is about. Their daughter was from donated sperm which was implanted into one of the women. The child is theirs; it’s not like a mix up at a hospital where the wrong child was taken. There are no known health problems, nothing inherently defective at all it’s merely about the child’s race. This is still biologically her child regardless of its skin colour.
I find their excuse for filing the lawsuit now to be entirely phony. While I’m sure the difficulties they claim may very well be true I sense some dishonesty. The parents claim they want money because it has been difficult to raise a biracial child in a predominantly White area. Essentially the area they live in is racist. I think this is what they are really saying. If this is a reason to need money then perhaps they should be suing the neighbourhood for being racist. The racist attitudes where they live are not the fault of the sperm bank. The woman complains that she has to take her daughter to a hair stylist far away to deal with her ‘unique’ hair. I think is probably isn’t true. If she wants specialized hairstyles that are not common to where she lives, then yes she should have to go somewhere to find people who know them.
This child will grow up feeling unloved knowing that her mothers didn’t really want her due to racism. We know the child will find out about this whole incident, it will be impossible to keep this information away from her. This child will one day know that its parents didn’t want her merely because of the race she had no choice over. What would it be like knowing your own parents were racist against you? How difficult will it be to live with the knowledge that your parents disliked the race you are? I see a lot of self-image problems coming for this kid in the future. This will definitely have a negative effect on its psychological and emotional health.
The mother’s statement about the fears, anxieties and uncertainty about the baby’s future makes me wonder what she was talking about. Is she referring to the systematic discrimination faced by African-Americans in job opportunities, education, police interaction, and social status? Would these be the same challenges that every African-American faces? It seems funny to me how racial inequality doesn’t seem to be ‘real’ or a ‘problem’ too many White people until they consider having to face it, or have a loved one face it. While we don’t know if there is no concern over racial inequality or not in this couple’s minds, we do however see it when this kind of incident occurs. People have adopted babies of colour only to find out how real racism really is. It makes me wonder if this is happening to them now, if it is even happening at all.
These concerns the mother’s have are probably the same concerns that all African-American mothers have. They worry about their child being 13% of the U.S. population and 14% of the monthly drug users, but 37% of the people arrested for drug-related offenses. Undue attention by the police like having 80% of the stops made are of blacks and Latinos, and 85% of those people were frisked, compared to a mere 8% of the white people stopped. There are countless statics I can pull up describing the unfair treatment of African Americans. What these mothers are saying is that these possibilities for their child are unacceptable. Meanwhile this is the day-to-day life of many African-Americans. What this White couple considers unacceptable, is the daily life of African-Americans. Think about that. Many White Americans claim there is no racism in the country, yet what they describe as unfair is the reality faced by racial minorities.
Again we don’t know what the views on race are of these women, but we do know that they find a mixed race baby something undesirable. The race of the baby is the centre of the complaint, the difficulties it will face.
Even with all the advantages this baby will have being born in the First World, the race of the child is unacceptable to them. The only hardship they truly face is race. This is infinitesimal compared to what mothers of children in the Third World worry about. They worry about not being able to find clean water, adequate housing, or access to any education. The fact that this baby was born mixed race shows that the difficulty it faces is the racism of the society in which it exists. Even with all the advantages of living the First World, the greatest difficulty, which can be considered unacceptable, is the race of a child.
The First World cannot see beyond its own petty racism which is right in their own faces. Now how can we expect them to see past their First World privilege, their theft of value from the Third World?
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Lesbian woman sues US sperm bank after giving birth to a mixed-race child, Gay Star News
Quigley, Bill. “Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System.” The Huffington Post
U.S. Department of Justice. “The Reality of Racial Profiling.” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights